Final thoughts on Dell Latitude XT2 Tablet PC

dell_latitude_xt2_tablet_pcI’ve been using a Dell Latitude XT2 Tablet PC for a couple of months now. It goes with me to all my meetings and has replaced my stack of legal pads I used to have in my office. Is it a perfect replacement? No, but it’s good enough that I don’t think I’ll go back to paper anytime soon.

Overall I’ve been pretty happy with this tablet and have grown quite accustomed to using it for almost all my computing needs. While I don’t think it will take the place of a desktop PC anytime soon, it is more than capable of stepping in as a replacement for my laptop.

– Multi-touch screen. I’ve had a lot of fun with this. Can’t wait to use it with Windows 7.
– Handles pen input well.
– The transition between finger and stylus input works well; just double tap the screen with your finger and you’re off and running.
– Nice keyboard. The keyboard may seem a little small, but it’s laid out nicely and is comfortable to type with. I’ve composed many documents on the XT2 and haven’t had any problems using the keyboard.
– The size is both a pro and a con. The XT2 is small enough to take anywhere, and light enough that you don’t get tired of carrying it around. See ‘Cons’ below for comment on screen.

– The screen on the XT2 has great resolution, but the colors appear a little washed out.
– The battery life is poor even with the extended battery pack. With the wireless on I can expect about 3 hours out of the 42 WHr 6-Cell lithium battery.
– The digitizer isn’t perfect and the pen will occasionally freeze for a few seconds.
– The XT2 lacks programmable buttons around the edge of the screen. Other tablet PC that I’ve used typically have 2 to 4 buttons around the edge of the monitor that can be customized for the user when in slate mode. I miss this feature.
– The biometric scanner is average. Most of the time I have to swipe my thumb 2-3 times before I get a hit.
– Screen size. The XT2 has a 12.1 inch display. While it makes the overall size of the tablet small, I’d like to see a little more real estate to work with. Perhaps less beveling would help. Fujitsu makes a couple of tablet PCs with a 13.3 inch screen; I’d like to see them up close and personal. I have an older Acer TravelMate c310 tablet PC in my office that the pharmacists use on occasion and it has a very nice 14.1 inch display.
– There is no eraser on the end of the stylus that comes with the XT2. The stylus with the Acer TravelMate c310 has one. It’s a nice touch.
– The wireless switch is located on the side of the tablet. I understand the need for the switch on the side when the tablet is in slate mode, but Dell needs to add a second switch to the keyboard like all their other laptops. Update (11/4/09) – The wireless switch on the keyboard is Fn-F9. My laptop is Fn-F3. I guess I just didn’t look hard enough.
– Doesn’t have a standard PCMCIA slot. I use a Verizon Wireless PC5750 PC Card when I’m away from an alternate connection. Unfortunately this card will not work in the XT2.

The Dell Latitude XT2 is a nice tablet, but for the money I think I’d try a Lenovo ThinkPad X200 tablet first.

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